Author Archives: thewriteexchange

Ozere Live at Next Generation Theater (finding anyplace at home)

 On this enchanted evening the stage was illuminated by much more than a few dim lights, but by a band of merry storytellers who through a whimsical mastery filled the atmosphere with a Celtic flair not regularly found within the confines of the genre. A pleasant mix of Celtic overtones combined with delicate sounds blending middle eastern interpretations alongside some wonderfully melodic resonances shows what a daring band can accomplish with musicians who have a multi-varied background flexing their musical muscles. Some of the autobiographical tales speak gently of experiences not soon forgotten and some are skillfully improvised melodies rooted firmly in the imaginations of the mind. Songwriting can be a tricky thing, but Ozere has accomplished it to a Celtic science. Band leader Jessica Deutach conveyed to me that her classical background has given her the freedom to experiment with instrumentation leaning towards a folkish sound, yet incorporating other flavors together for a most unique experience. Her honesty exposes her spirit within her songs and the instrumentals are fresh and lively including an array of instruments taking the spotlight. Their latest CD, “Finding Anyplace” explores these characteristics and has indeed found itself anyplace it may be. 

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

Penobscot Theatre Presents “I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti” (food, truth, and the complexities of love…Italian style)

   Once in a great while, a true love will be born out of soulmates who find each other. Happy is the person who walks the earth and finds true love. And as the bible teaches us, we shall cleave to that love, even forsaking all others…as it should be. A frightening prospect for those who harbor some doubts or insecurities. Yet, a manifestation of the truest adoration for those who toss themselves in with all of their heart, mind, soul, and spirit. This tall tale of love, unfettered emotion, and cuisine all together determines a destiny and a journey of unrequited love, sacrifice, and false adoration…perhaps even a little insanity. The long list of losers, leches, and leavers is unleashed within the confines of the heart of a woman. Her sincerity and vulnerability are the forces behind her openness and expression. During her conversation with us as she prepares a three course dinner with wine like any self respecting Italian, she is perpetually interrupted at inopportune times by her well meaning mother whose eye for her happiness and future is forever on the horizon. There were actually moments when I truly believed she was speaking only to me in a one on one conversation.  Her past rested within a kitchen drawer full of souvenirs from past errors in judgement reminding her that the clock was ticking. That and advice from friends whose opinions, thoughts, and comparisons were of no avail to her problem. Her kitchen skills were only matched by the size of her heart. Could there ever really be a true love in her life?

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

Eugene Onegin from the Met at the Grand Auditorium in Ellsworth Maine

 In this tumultuous tale laced with utter confusion, Tchaikovsky masters this interwoven story of those who are betrothed and wish to be… Madame Larina reflects upon her days prior to her marriage buried deep within her thoughts while being courted by another. The poet Lenski brings with him a visitor known as Eugene Onegin whose affections are immediately guided to the daughter of Madame Larina, Tatiana. His anticipation towards her becomes an immediate passion and wishes to show her so. However, he confesses to her that he can only offer her his unfailing friendship. Remorse, duels, and death, fill the night air as jealousies rage above and beneath ranting emotions. Years pass and Eugene now sees Tatiana once again with refreshed love ready to follow the path of his newfound hearts desire. Yet, promises have been made and such bonds cannot be released or broken. Or can they? See the story unfold on April 22 at The Grand Auditorium in Ellsworth Maine.

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

Knapp’s Music Center (a downtown milestone)

When a monolithic event occurs, many times a memorial of sorts is erected, a standing ovation to its own accomplishments. It may be a statue, a building wing named after its benefactor, or a simple park bench. However, there are times when the icon speaks for itself. Such is the longstanding reign of Knapp’s Music Center. It has kept music alive in the area since 1952 with the avid learning of musical instruments through lessons, sold sheet music in its many varied forms to aid those who wish to mimic the original masters, and repaired countless instruments to their natural and original clarity. Nearly the oldest standing monumental store open to the public in the greater downtown area of its time. Dan, the owner, operator, and master repairman has given us insight into his humble beginnings. It had originally opened as merely a sales store to grant those promising musicians access to the sound of their choice. Knapp’s had simply expanded into repair once an assistant or apprentice had made his way into this world of music. Then after parting ways, Dan took on the mantle of repair in a self taught and not so easy task of learning every instruments ailment like a musical doctor. And since then he has maintained this outlet to the public at large. There are many choices to be made here. One can take lessons, purchase instruments, or simply have an old friend repaired and come back to life at the hands of its shopkeeper. A true monument to the business world of endurance.

Idomeneo from the Met at the Grand Auditorium in Ellsworth Maine

   In the midst of the Trojan war, a daughter of royalty fancies a prince who is doomed in his not too distant future unbeknownst to him. There are kind gestures of good will peppered about though the fathers in power are enemies. There is however, a hope to return to peace. The Greek kings jealousy of the clemency granted towards prisoners causes his passions of hate to flare. The furies of the hades are dreaded to be unleashed. Idomeneo is rescued by Neptune, god of the sea and brought to safety. Idomeneo realizes that the pending sacrifice entails him to surrender his own son for the ritual. Horrified, he flees into exile causing terrible grief to his beloved. A major battle against a monstrous serpent ensues. A broken love, a loss of a son, a blessing to restore a loving couple and peace to the land all fall into place in this endearing tale. Come see it for yourself on March 25th at the Grand Auditorium in Ellsworth Maine.

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

Penobscot Theatre Company Presents “Paper Maker” by Monica Wood

 In a small city somewhere between somewhere and nowhere lies a paper mill in distress. However, this finely tuned business has come to a clash with it’s life’s blood…the workers, whose very hands are the heart of the industry in which it runs. It appears that management ,  ownership, and the many hands that keep it in motion disagree on some of the more integral portions that will ultimately decide if money or survival will triumph. The company itself exists as a benefactor for the working class and a sense of pride for the captains of industry. Eventually, the executive sees for himself just how this growing animosity between them truly affects the very existence of these people. They no longer merely remain the hands and feet propelling paper through the machines, they are now living beings suffering as a result of disagreement with no compromise in sight. When they meet entirely by accident, or unless providence moved its mighty hand, offering both parties, even within the bitter battle of a strike, an odd form of compassion grows from both sides remembering the forgotten workers who held the mill together. Delving deeper we see an inner quadrangle of personal difficulties begin to heal as a father and daughter come to see love perhaps for the first time, and the loss of a beloved wife to a loving husband enters into acceptance as his remaining days with her become more important than the strike and the prideful arrogance ensued against the industrial machine, even building her an arc to show his love for her. An endearing story unleashing ones truest feelings in the midst of crisis when we are all called to see what is most important in our lives.

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

La Traviata from the Met at the Grand Autitorium in Ellsworth Maine

     The masterpiece by Giuseppe Verdi, originally entitled Violetta, engages in lovers adoration raging from afar at lavish parties, drinking songs, celebrations, and of course the unrequited love of another. Violetta falls ill one evening, leaving the party with promises of seeing her lover again. A vow not taken lightly from her gentleman friend. She rests comfortably sometime in the not so distant future at a beautiful country house surrounded by a happy existence interrupted threats, left to weeping alone, drowning in her uncontrollable sadness by having to choose between her love and her family. There are Baron’s and duels, denouncements and sacrifices, followed by a storm of tragedy with a chance of death. See it happen on March 11 at 12:55 p.m. at the Grand Auditorium in Ellsworth Maine.

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro